Cisco’s Robbins: We’ll enable service providers to gain deeper analytics, build managed services

Cisco is aiming to help its service providers take advantage of its intent-based networking concept—one that it is currently vetting with its largest enterprise customers.   

Chuck Robbins speaks at a Cisco event in this screencap.
Chuck Robbins

Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco, told attendees during the first day of the vendor’s Cisco Live event in Las Vegas that it can apply the experience it is gaining from the trials it is conducting with its large enterprises to the service provider realm.

“This is not something we’re announcing today and then we’re going to go work on it,” Robbins said. “We have 75 early field trial customers with some significant brands that have been working with us on making sure this technology is ready so there’s been a huge amount of work that has gone into this already.”

RELATED: Cisco touts new software-driven security vision

Late last week, Cisco introduced a new suite of intent-based networking security solutions, marking the latest attempt by the company to pivot toward a software-driven mindset to offset declines in its traditional hardware business.

Some of the customers trialing Cisco’s solution include: DB Systel GmbH, Jade University of Applied Sciences, NASA, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Scentsy, UZ Leuven and Wipro.

While Cisco did not provide any specific details on its service provider plans other than mentioning managed services, Robbins said that it plans to apply similar principles to these customers that stem from its intent-based networking platform.  

“For our service provider customers, we’re going to take all this technology and help them build managed service offerings,” Robbins said. “We will give them the tools and capabilities to take these offerings and deliver value-based solutions to their customers.”

One area it will likely continue to assist service providers around will be software-based virtualization. Cisco has been clearly moving in this direction by making targeted purchases of other software-based vendors in SD-WAN and artificial intelligence such as MindMeld. Cisco also purchased SD-WAN player Viptela and signed an agreement to purchase Saggezza’s advanced analytics team.

Already, a number of Cisco’s key service provider customers, including CenturyLink and Verizon, are currently taking advantage of its SD-WAN and software analytics capabilities.

CenturyLink recently launched Managed Enterprise with Cisco Meraki, a service that gives customers greater visibility into their SD-WAN and other wireline and wireless-related services. Verizon, meanwhile, added access to a new library of virtual network functions (VNFs) based on Cisco’s Virtual Managed Services (VMS) platform.

Robbins said that Cisco plans to take the elements of automation and scale touted in its intent-based networking to give service providers better visibility and limit network downtime.

“What we want to do is take all of this technology and help enterprises build managed service offerings with it, give them the tools and capabilities to take these offerings and deliver value-based solutions to their customers,” Robbins said. “We’re going to take the same mentality to the service provider networks, deliver automation and scale, take analytics out of their technology investments, and deliver data in a secure way.”

Robbins added that “what we ultimately want to do is get to self-healing networks in the service provider space as well as the enterprise space.”